About


The Evolution of Edgenet

From Dial-Up Internet Service (DuiS) to Software as a Service (SaaS)

Most companies have a linear history, a simple progression that has led them to where they are today.
Maybe it looks like the first half of a bell curve. Edgenet is not most companies.

A privately-held, Nashville-based company with a divisional office in Milwaukee, Edgenet is a software as a service (SaaS) provider that offers the premier suite of product content and configuration solutions

Edgenet’s best-in-class solutions are used by top retailers, distributors, media websites and suppliers of all sizes in the home goods, automotive and sporting goods industries, among others. Our customers access a product information ecosystem that ensures the highest quality and most complete set of product content available.

To understand Edgenet you have to know its people. Those who have always been there, as well as those who have come and gone and, in many cases, returned.

You have to know how Edgenet is one of Nashville’s earliest and greatest technology company success stories. You have to know the winding story of a company that has evolved and grown over 15 years. How its patented technology was there all along, way before buzzwords like “cloud technology” were being tossed wantonly into marketing copy ad nauseum. (Marketing Note: Edgenet is a true cloud technology company.)

Edgenet is one of Nashville’s earliest and greatest technology company success stories.

Early Software Innovation

m2o (Made to Order) was developed beginning in the late 1980s and patented in 1999, and thus a mature configuration tool was now ready for big commerce. The Window and Door industry needed this tool as all their orders were done manually, and Edgenet had it. Thus, partnerships were born with Lowe’s®, Andersen Windows®, Pella® and many more.

This opportunity was seized by early visionaries and tech pioneers of Edgenet, including Tim Choate and Ted Lessman. Tim is on the board still today, and Ted remains the principal architect on the m2o software. (sidenote: Ted is only ever seen in jeans and has only worn khakis to work once in over 15 years - we have a very awkward photograph to prove it.) The point is, the people who made this innovation and success happen in the beginning are still on the Edgenet team, and that through-line makes a difference.

In 2004, a major step was taken by Edgenet, as m2o became a cloud-based, or Software as a Service (SaaS), solution. Edgenet brought this new computing method to bear in the marketplace, and what better place to start than with Lowe’s, a long-time and valuable partner.

By being in the cloud, m2o was now leagues beyond the competition, and that position continues today.

Edgenet has a longstanding and proven record of being at the forefront of product and data configuration technology. The goal has never been to be the tech trend of the moment, but to innovate and sustain lasting, meaningful commerce tools for real business - big business - on a massive scale.

Growth

Edgenet has not been immune to the rigors of modern business and the change that comes with those challenges. This is what makes the story so great.

In 2005 Edgenet was sold to Liberty Partners. Later that same year, Data Services for Manufacturers was introduced, and as a result, Edgenet grew exponentially. From 2005 to 2010, 200 employees and an office in Waukesha, Wis., were added, and a new product line was solidified.

Product Content Cloud (PCc) was born, a groundbreaking product data tool that allows for incredibly complex sets of product data to be groomed, and fed to retailers and distributors. If the m2o configuration software is a little hard to understand for the layman, then a look under the hood of Product Content Cloud (PCc) is the stuff of a Stephen Hawking-induced haze.

Product Content Cloud (PCc), in simplest terms, makes selling products massively more successful and allows for much greater insight into a company’s business. This innovation resulted in partnerships with Google, Bing, Walmart, AutoZone and many others.

Around the same time, m2o continued to grow alongside Product Content Cloud (PCc). In 2006 Edgenet released iCAT, a powerful catalog management tool, which allows m2o customers to bring products to market more quickly and accurately.

People Matter

In the age of clockwork mergers and acquisitions, how many tech companies still have their patent-holders and inventors on hand daily to maintain the product and foster new innovation?

There were many key players in the early days of Edgenet. Steve Proctor was head of sales, and Tim Stafford ran operations. They both left the company and went to a little outfit called Oracle. There they made waves and enjoyed massive success.

Many of the original team never left Edgenet. Adam Owens and Candy Foriest built customer product catalogs for m2o, and still manage them today. Robert Guisinger was making sure QA ran a tight ship and still does. Michelle Martin maintains Professional Services with the same fervor and diligence she always has. All of these team members and many others from those wily startup days are still with Edgenet. More on Steve Proctor and Tim Stafford in a moment.

Edgenet has a longstanding and proven record of being at the forefront of product and data configuration technology… and Change.

From 2005 to 2014, under the Liberty Partners group ownership, the philosophy became heavily focused on innovation. However, the business foundation was not properly reinforced to support those innovations.

Such is the case for so many tech companies in those years, where the veritable gold rush and pioneer mentality exceeded simple tenets of sound business. You can’t blame them for giving it their all, but in the end this was not sustainable. Investors were weary, and opted to not continue working with the company. The end of any partnership is a trying experience, but survivable. Edgenet has not only survived, but prospered.

You always hear in the sports world about a team that has been, historically, successful but has since lost its way. Their fans clamor for the team to return to what brought them to greatness. The soul of a team is something that spans players and coaches, and an intangible identity and spirit persists. In the same way, Edgenet has returned to its roots, but with an eye on the future.

Back to Steve Proctor and Tim Stafford, who both left Edgenet shortly after the Liberty acquisition. They returned in 2014 and, along with a strong and committed team of investors in Tenth Street Capital, purchased the company. They helped Edgenet quickly recapture its original greatness - and did so with the energy and expertise that was key in building Edgenet in the first place.

Steve Proctor is now CEO, Tim Stafford is EVP, and their savvy in the industries served by Edgenet are unsurpassed. Along with Chris Dowdy, CFO, who joined Edgenet from Asurion in 2014 with an incomparable track record, this executive team is primed to forge ahead.

A New Beginning… Sort of

A company couldn’t set out to have Edgenet’s current blend of new and storied perspectives, collective experiences, and industry knowledge. It is a natural outcome of the evolution of Edgenet. The true talent is in recognizing this rarefied blend of history and people, and leveraging it to support our product and customers. That is precisely what the new leadership has achieved.

Edgenet’s products and successes speak for themselves. Some refer to the company as the “new” Edgenet, which in many respects makes sense, but the Edgenet of today is a rich hybrid of contemporary ideas and historical knowledge, which transcends the notion of just newness.

You see, I too worked for Edgenet from 2000-2005, and then moved on to other adventures just as Steve, Tim and others did. But when Steve and Tim called me and said they were “getting the band back together,” who wouldn’t take on that challenge?

Many of us are back, and excited to not just return to Edgenet, but to truly be in the present; to take these amazing tools even further and help businesses be more successful than thought possible in the modern idiom.

How many times in life do you get to do it all again, but with what you know now? We get to do that.

This is why Edgenet is a storied and compelling company, filled with inspired people, all with an unrelenting drive to succeed through our customers success.

What do we do? We amplify your product sales with better product data and configuration tools. We do that these days in the cloud, in real time, on any device, and better than anyone does it. No screeching modem required.

Brian Siskind - Edgenet Creative Director

 

Leadership

  • Steve Proctor
    Chief Executive Officer

    Steve Proctor has been a sales leader in the software industry for over 15 years (including over 7 years at Edgenet). During his tenure at Edgenet, Steve closed Edgenet’s first enterprise deal with Lowe’s Companies and served as Edgenet’s VP of Retail Sales. He began working for Oracle Corporation beginning in 2008 and became a Technology Sales Manager with call responsibilities for Nissan, Genesco, Asurion and several other multi-billion dollar Oracle customers.

  • Tim Stafford
    Executive Vice President

    Stafford held several executive positions during his earlier tenure with Edgenet. His responsibilities included software research and development, business planning and professional services. His management experience includes consulting for Fortune 500 retail corporations while with Accenture (formerly Andersen Consulting) and serving as Senior Financial Analyst/Brand Manager for Pentland Group. Stafford holds a bachelor's degree in political science from Kenyon College in 1993 and an MBA from Ohio State in 1997.